Malaysia

Dr Mahathir says Putrajaya influenced by Paris, not Medina as claimed by Perkasa

The design and architecture of Putrajaya was influenced by the iconic Avenue de Champs-Elysees in Paris and not Saudi Arabia’s Medina as claimed by Perkasa but it did not mean that everything was copied, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).

In his blog, Dr Mahathir wrote that the Avenue de Champs-Elysees was the main inspiration because it was the main boulevard which crossed the centre of Paris.

Breaking his silence on plans to have a Hard Rock Cafe in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir denied claims by Perkasa Youth that the administrative capital had been based on Saudi Arabia's Medina.

"While I am grateful for the interpretations that are made regarding my thoughts, but sometimes it differs from what I am actually thinking about," he wrote in his blog.

"The Avenue de Champs-Elysees boulevard has an expansive main carriageway for vehicles which is flanked by entertainment outlets including the iconic Lido cabaret," he said.

"There are also eateries which cater to millions of tourists who flock to Paris every year to enjoy the sights," he said while acknowledging that the eateries were non-halal.

Dr Mahathir said while it was not necessary to replicate the Avenue de Champs-Elysees in its entirety, those responsible for its administration also did not want Putrajaya to be just an administrative capital.

"In all developed countries, there are central business districts which are full of offices of reputable and famous companies.

"During the day, hundreds of workers and visitors flood the central business districts. But after 5pm, the area becomes quiet and deserted.

"It is dangerous at night as criminals are prowling around the area and robbing anyone who enters," said Dr Mahathir, who commissioned the construction of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya during his tenure.

"It is common sense that if there are a lot of people in an area, then the likelihood of criminals prowling the area would be less."

He agreed that light entertainment in Putrajaya was important, pointing out that during the New Year's Eve celebrations, almost 100,000 people had thronged the administrative capital.

"Most of the visitors, mainly Malays, were entertained with soulful songs and dances. Of course they would not have come if there was no entertainment," Dr Mahathir said.

However, he disagreed with the idea of opening an outlet in Putrajaya which sold alcohol and promoted nude dancing and maintained that "a little light entertainment" was acceptable.

While admitting he had never been to Hard Rock Cafe, Dr Mahathir said he was uncertain if such an outlet would be a right fit for Putrajaya.

Dr Mahathir said he supported the efforts of Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat in trying to develop Putrajaya and attract visitors, especially in the evenings.

On Sunday, Perkasa Youth had protested against a reported bid by Hard Rock Cafe to open an outlet in Putrajaya, claiming it defiled the morality of the administrative capital.

The protests forced Putrajaya Corporation to deny that a Hard Rock Cafe outlet was scheduled to open in Putrajaya.

Hard Rock International, which owns the chain of the theme restaurants, also said that it had no intention of opening any new outlets in Malaysia and denied issuing any statements to that effect.  – January 8, 2014.

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